The "Arab Spring", as it has come to be known, began in Tunisia in 2011. It spread a wave of unrest throughout the Arab world toppling existing political dynasties along the way. A wave of discontent aimed at fundamentally shifting out dictators, and their processes of distributing power. Even though many of those that participated in the unrest had little or no idea what democracy is, they did however want a different kind of political environment than the one they lived in. That brings us to Canada, and our own "Canadian Spring".
Canadians have been governed now for five years by a Party that has had less than 39% of the popular vote - in itself a fundamentally undemocratic predicament. Political power was consistently rewarded based on concentrations of power in certain geographical areas of the country, while others were purposely marginalized. The Alberta Reformers married the Ontario Harris Tories, and the two lauded it over a wounded Liberal Party, and a marginalized NDP. Quebec, Atlantic Canada, and to some degree Ontario were left out of the mix. A polarization of the country and the political process has become the norm. The deep roots of this polarization have erupted in Parliament, with a finding of Contempt of Parliament being the final result.
The Conservative's hold on power seemed in jeopardy until the evening of the English debate where Mr. Ignatieff failed to convince those that wanted change that he was their man. A sense of hopelessness overcame the Canadian political scene, and people became resigned to the fact that a Conservative government was inevitable. That resignation began to lead all the leading opinion shapers to believe that a majority Conservative government was inevitable. It seems that thinking led to a popular uprising in Quebec. Like Tunisia before it, Quebec became the wind that fanned the flame of change. That wind was coloured orange. Overnight Jack Layton became a factor. The NDP became serious.
Ontario, as it traditionally does, began to question it's political leanings in light of developments in Quebec. A sense of protest, like the Arab Spring, began to grow there. British Columbia, with strong NDP leanings, started to shift. Suddenly, on the eve of the vote, the NDP is 5 points behind the Conservatives nationally. The question is will it result in seats? The answer is most definitely yes. The NDP is now on the verge of taking at least 50 seats in Quebec alone. The Conservatives are looking at having a large percentage of the popular vote across Canada, but a lot less seats. In fact, they are losing popular vote in Ontario, which will result in less seats for them in Ontario. The NDP is on track to form a minority government come 2nd of May, 2011.
Why is this NDP surge happening here, and why now? The answer is the governing style of the Conservatives. They abused Parliament. They refused political responsibility for their actions. In many ways they betrayed the democratic principles of their Reform roots. I am not saying that Harper is a dictator, and that our political system is a dictatorship - although some do. What I am saying is that all things are relative. We as a people aren't marching in the streets. Nobody is getting shot. There are no tanks. Our choice of protest is the ballot. Our day of protest is election day. Make no mistake, though, this Canadian election has become a 'Canadian Spring'.
Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the
round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're
not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify
them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change
things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the
crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that
they can change the world, are the ones who do.
US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 - 2011)